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Public Statements

Full Faith and Credit Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Madam Speaker, the purpose of the Full Faith and Credit Act (H.R. 807) is to protect the full faith and credit of the United States by requiring the Treasury Secretary to issue such debt as may be necessary to prevent a sovereign default. During the consideration of this bill in the Ways and Means Committee, I offered an amendment to clarify the relationship between debt issued under the authority in this bill and the statutory debt limit. This amendment was adopted by voice vote and is part of the bill as ordered reported by the Ways and Means Committee.

This bill provides additional and limited authority to the Secretary of the Treasury to issue new debt obligations on behalf of the United States solely for the purpose of paying the principal and interest on specified debt obligations of the United States once the statutory debt limit has been reached. The intent of this bill is that debt obligations issued under the authority provided by the bill will count against the debt limit with one exception. This exception provides that if counting the full amount of these newly issued obligations against the debt limit would cause the debt limit to be exceeded, then the amount of the newly issued obligation that is in excess of the debt limit shall not count toward the limit.

The following is a hypothetical example to explain the intended operation of this bill. Assume the debt limit has been reached and the payment of principal and interest on an existing debt obligation amounting to $100 requires the Treasury Secretary to issue $101 of new debt obligations using the authority provided in this Act. In this example, $100 of that new obligation would count against the debt limit while $1 would not. Importantly, applying this provision is a continual responsibility. If at some future date the stock of debt subject to the limit were reduced by $1, then the $1 that originally did not count against the debt limit would now count toward the debt limit. Under no circumstance can there be both room to issue new debt obligations without exceeding the statutory debt ceiling and an outstanding stock of debt obligations issued under the authority in this bill that is not subject to the debt limit.

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